CIF-North Coast Section Playoff Preview

Two teams from the CIF-North Coast Section are favorites to get to the CIF State Bowl games, but they need to get through the section playoffs first. takes a look at the NCS playoffs...

To get to the Home Depot Center for the CIF State Bowl Games, you must win your section.

That's the task that Concord De La Salle and Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman both face if they want to continue their seasons. Neither are foreign to that formula, as Cardinal Newman made it to the D-III game in 2006 and De La Salle has made it the last two years.

Both schools have a bye this weekend, but several others from the North Coast Section, will hit the field this weekend for first round action and hopes of winning an NCS title.


The Favorite: Concord De La Salle
The Challengers: Danville Monte Vista, Pleasanton Foothill, Pittsburg
The Darkhorse: Danville San Ramon Valley
Predicted Final: De La Salle over Monte Vista

De La Salle is poised to win its 17th straight CIF section title, and get back down to Carson for the third straight time. But the D-I bracket is the strongest it's been in years. There are plenty of familiar faces for the Spartans too, like EBAL foes Foothill, Monte Vista and California as well as San Ramon Valley. Plus Pittsburg has had its share of battles with De La Salle in the past.  San Ramon Valley won a title a year ago and wouldn't mind putting on a Cinderella run of their own.


The Favorite: Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman
The Challengers: Rohnert Park Rancho Cotate, Concord Clayton Valley, Moraga Campolindo
The Darkhorse: Walnut Creek Las Lomas
Predicted Final: Cardinal Newman over Rancho Cotate

Cardinal Newman is on a mission: Get back to Carson and win a state title.  They'll have their work cut out for them in a competitive D-II bracket, but have to be considered the prohibitive favorite.  Clayton Valley wouldn't mind grabbing some of the spotlight of football fans in Concord and a nice run in the playoffs certainly can't hurt.  Watch out for Las Lomas, though, as they feature arguably the most explosive football player in Northern California in Diante Jackson.


The Favorite: Alameda Encinal
The Challengers: Orinda Miramonte, Novato, Oakland Bishop O'Dowd
The Darkhorse: Kentfield Marin Catholic
Predicted Final: Novato over Bishop O'Dowd

Encinal has gone unbeaten in 2008 and were an easy pick for the top seed in the D-III playoffs.  After taking their lumps early, Novato is back to where they figured they would be, playing good football at the end of the year.  While a return to the state championship is out of the question, another CIF-NCS title isn't.  Bishop O'Dowd has some serious talent, albeit young talent, led by the top defensive player in the class of 2010, Chris Martin.  We're picking Novato to win it again and beating O'Dowd to do it.


The Favorite: Ferndale
The Challengers: Richmond Salesian, Napa Justin-Siena, Middletown
The Darkhorse: Vallejo St. Patrick/St. Vincent
Predicted Final: Ferndale over Salesian

Jahvid Best isn't walking through that door anytime soon, and that's a bummer for Salesian, who wouldn't mind having "The Jet" back.  Napa Justin Siena is led by Washington State-bound Justin Clayton.  We're taking Ferndale over Salesian in the finals.


The Favorite: Petaluma St. Vincent
The Challengers: Oakland St. Elizabeth, Tomales
The Darkhorse: Boonville Anderson Valley
Predicted Final: St. Vincent over St. Elizabeth

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